Suni Lee won the gold medal in the women’s gymnastics individual all-around competition and no one is more excited than her father, John.
“There’s no word that can express this right now,” he told Al Roker and Craig Melvin when he called in to the 3rd hour of TODAY on Thursday from his Minnesota home.
He said watching the event was nerve-racking.
“My wife, everybody, the whole community’s here and they’re all holding their breath,” he said.
Suni Lee is the first Hmong American to compete and win a gold medal in the Olympics. She earned a score of 57.44 to win the gold, while Brazil's Rebeca Andrade took second and the Russian Olympic Committee's Angelina Melnikova earned the bronze.
John Lee played a vital role in his daughter’s development as a gymnast, building her a balance beam that she used in their backyard.
“That beam is still here,” he said.
“I’m glad I built her that beam,” he added.
What does he think his daughter was feeling in the aftermath of her win?
“I don’t think she can have any words to express, either. I could see it in her eyes that she was crying, so I know she’s excited and happy and we’re so proud of her.”
John Lee has yet to speak with his daughter since she won the gold medal, but he knows what he wants to tell her when he does. He also has some words in mind for Simone Biles, who withdrew from the individual all-around competition.
“I’m going to tell her I’m so proud of her," he said. "I want to tell her team that no matter what, you all support her and I want to tell Simone that she truly is the GOAT because she let my baby girl bring the gold medal.”